Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. As an NRC postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), and came to GSFC to be the Study Scientist, Project Scientist, and the Principal Investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE.
In 2006 Dr. Mather was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Mather shares the prize with George F. Smoot of the University of California for their collaborative work on understanding the Big Bang. Mather and Smoot analyzed data from COBE, which studied the pattern of radiation from the first few instants after the universe was formed.
Currently, Dr. Mather is working on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), where he is the senior project scientist. JWST will be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and is scheduled to launch in 2018.
He has served on advisory and working groups for the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, and the NSF (for the ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and for the CARA, the Center for Astrophysical Research in the Antarctic). He is a member of the Astrophysics Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Committee and of the Standing Review Board for the Kepler project.
Dr. Mather is the author of many publications, including his book, "The Very First Light", which was written along with John Boslough and is now in its 2nd edition (2008).
Learn more about Dr. Mather's work and career (March 2014 UC Berkeley Regents Lecture).